Many and wide as arethe gaps in our knowledge concerning the course of his outer life, anddoubtful as many important passages of it remain--in vexatious contrastwith the certainty of other relatively insignificant data--we have atleast become aware of the foundations on which alone a trustworthyaccount of it can be built.
These foundations consist partly of ameagre though gradually increasing array of external evidence, chieflyto be found in public documents,--in the Royal Wardrobe Book, the IssueRolls of the Exchequer, the Customs Rolls, and suchlike records--partlyof the conclusions which may be drawn with confidence from the internalevidence of the poet's own indisputably genuine works, together with afew references to him in the writings of his contemporaries orimmediate successors.
"My head aches so," said Molly, lifting her heavy eyes wistfully.
"Oh, dear, how tiresome!" said Clare, still in her sweet gentle voice, not at all as if she was angry, only expressing an obvious truth. Molly felt very guilty and very unhappy. Clare went on, with a shade of asperity in her tone: "You see, I don't know what to do with you here if you don't eat enough to enable you to walk home. And I've been out for these three hours trapesing about the grounds till I'm as tired as can be, and missed my lunch and all." Then, as if a new idea had struck her, she said,—"You lie back in that seat for a few minutes, and try to eat the bunch of grapes, and I'll wait for you, and just be eating a mouthful meanwhile. You are sure you don't want this chicken?"